Subject: News  Bulletin  from  Aidan  Burley  MP  #27 Date: Friday,  11  November  2011  12:52:37  United

 Kingdom  Time From: To: Aidan  Burley  MP news@aidanburleymp.org

In this edition:
Aidan Burley MP’s Diary Website of the Week: The Dilshad MP’s anger at Stafford A&E night-time closure – but vows to fight on for full re-opening October 2011 Volunteer Day: Child Development Centre and 'You Too' Action on social housing injustice Aidan welcomes new online and telephone services Photo news: Cannock’s Brian James store reopens Aidan in Parliament: Late night court sittings Aidan in the media: Tories Pursue Labour on Union Links Aidan in the papers: Heroes & Villains of Westminster Aidan in the papers: Just one in five backs strike: Low turnout, but union sticks to pension walkout Aidan in the papers: Week in Westminster Aidan in the papers: Week in Westminster How to contact Aidan Burley MP

Issue 27 – Friday 11th November 2011

Since the last edition, Aidan has:
· · · · · · Pressed Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust to put on hold any decision to temporarily close Stafford Accident and Emergency Department. Conducted his October 2011 Volunteer Day with the Child Development Centre and ‘You Too’ group. Been named ‘Westminster Hero of the Week’ by The Sun newspaper. Met with Cannock Chase Police Officers and Police Federation Representatives for over two hours to discuss reforms to police pay and conditions. Questioned the Minister of State for Housing on social housing injustice. Written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, calling for an investigation into a potential breach of Parliamentary rules. This follows a Labour frontbencher’s failure to declare properly a donation from the GMB trade union when tabling an amendment to the Legal Aid Bill. Formally opened the new Brian James furniture store in Cannock. Been cited in the Daily Mail calling for called for laws requiring unions to gain majority support before pressing ahead with strikes. Questioned the Secretary of State for Justice on late night court sittings. Been quoted in the Staffordshire Newsletter regarding Stafford Accident & Emergency Department. Joined social networking site Twitter. You can now follow Aidan on Twitter at @AidanBurleyMP.

· · · · ·

Website of the Week:

www.thedilshad.co.uk
Calling all curry lovers, if you’re looking for a pleasant evening and delicious food visit The Dilshad, in Cannock Road, Chadsmoor. The Dilshad has a long and successful history providing Staffordshire customers with some of the best Indian cuisine. Their menu is very extensive and offers customers a variety of choice. The Dilshad is now proud to present the "UK's hottest curry", tried and tested by experts from The Sun, Daily Star and Express & Star. FREE BOTTLE OF WINE ON TABLES OF 4 OR MORE (Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer).

MP’s anger at Stafford A&E night-time closure – but vows to fight on for full re-opening
This week Aidan Burley MP strongly urged Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust to put on hold any decision to temporarily close Stafford Accident and Emergency Department. Ahead of the Trust Board meeting on 10th November 2011, Aidan called on Trust Chief Executive Ms Hill-Tout to postpone the meeting and instead asked that the Trust continue to work together with the Department for Health and other relevant bodies to find an alternative solution to closure. In an open letter to Trust Chief Executive Lyn Hill-Tout (click on image to right for full text), Aidan said that whilst he acknowledges the staffing problems at the Hospital, any closure would have a devastating impact on local people in Cannock Chase. Aidan said: “The safety of local people in Cannock Chase is paramount in my role as their MP and it is my job to ensure that nothing is done to put their safety at risk. Whilst I accept the staffing problems the Trust have encountered, my constituents in Cannock Chase have already seen the removal of services from Cannock Hospital in recent years. I believe that closing the Accident and Emergency Department at Stafford Hospital, even for a temporary period, is a step too far.” “A closure would mean that some of my constituents would have to make a 20 mile and 45 minute journey in order to find emergency healthcare. Therefore, we owe it to the local community to find a resolution to this problem without closing such a vital service, one that is literally a matter of life or death for my constituents.” Unfortunately, at their Trust Board meeting on 10th November, the Trust did decide to close the A&E department between the hours of 10pm and 6am to deal with staffing shortages. Immediately after the Mid Staffordshire Trust Board Meeting of 10th November, Aidan said: “I am naturally very disappointed at today’s decision by Mid Staffordshire Trust to close Stafford A&E between 10pm and 8am. I am also surprised that such an important decision was taken so rapidly at the meeting, in the face of overwhelming opposition, especially when the Chief Executive had been on the radio only this morning saying that no final decision had been taken. I believe this is wrong decision and will have a detrimental impact on many of my constituents. “Next week I intend to follow up my previous letter to the Trust by seeking further explanation of the decision and reassurance of their future intentions. “It is in everybody’s interest that the A&E department is re-opened as soon as possible.”

October 2011 Volunteer Day:

Child Development Centre and 'You Too'

Aidan with staff and parents at the Child Development Centre. For his October 2011 Volunteer Day, Aidan joined staff and parents at the Child Development Centre and helped with one of their support groups called 'You Too'. This is a group for parents that have children with additional needs and was originally set up in partnership with the Child Development Centre (CDC). Children attend the centre to be mentally and physically assessed for their specific needs. This is a two week process and at the end the family will be given a diagnosis/working diagnosis. This is an extremely emotive time for the whole family and to help support parents through this difficult period they are invited to come along to the 'You Too' group where they can share experiences with other parents that are going through the same experiences, as well as obtaining advice and support from experienced professionals. The parents group also invites visitors from other specialist services such as CAB, Parent Partnership Services and Social Workers for Children with Disabilities to name a few. Whilst there, Aidan welcomed parents into the group with a cup of coffee and listened as they shared their weekly experiences. To hear some of the experiences that parents go through on a daily basis, Aidan really appreciated the need for support groups like this. After the group, the MP joined the crèche next door where he helped supervise the children who took part in crafts and other activities. Knowing that the children were in a safe and secure environment meant that parents could openly discuss sometimes sensitive issues and gain support and advice from professionals. The 'You Too' group play a very important role in a family's life at a very sensitive and difficult time. Aidan felt privileged to have been invited to spend time with such dedicated families and staff. The hard work and commitment of the staff at the Children's Development Centre really does make a difference.

Action on social housing injustice

Click on the image above to watch Aidan's Parliamentary Question to the Minister of State for Housing. Aidan's question begins 8 minutes and 5 seconds into the video. Aidan has demanded the Government speed up its efforts to address an anomaly in the housing system which allows six figure earners to live in subsidised council housing. Aidan’s call came during Local Government Question time in the House of Commons on Monday 31st October 2011. Commenting after the exchange Aidan said: “Local people will be gobsmacked to learn that at a time where in Cannock Chase alone there are over 2300 people listed on the Housing register with 164 of these marked as statutory homeless, these high earners continue to take up valuable subsidised social housing which should be used for the most vulnerable people in our society. It is only right that if these people wish to continue living in these homes they are made to pay full market rate.” The Government have estimated that there are around 6000 people in Britain today still living in council houses paying subsidised rent despite earning more than £100,000 a year - more than four times the average salary of local people in Cannock Chase. The “Pay to Stay” scheme now under consultation will force those high earners in social housing to either leave or pay full market rate for the properties. In his response to the Cannock MP, Housing Minister Grant Shapps also made clear that every penny of the money raised from this scheme, estimated to be tens of millions of pounds, will go toward building more affordable housing. Aidan added: “Whist I accept that this alone will not solve our housing crisis, it is only right that Government acts to deal with this small but significant social injustice." The full text of Aidan's exchange with the Minister was as follows: Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): What estimate he has made of the number of social housing units occupied by people earning over £100,000 per annum. The Minister for Housing and Local Government (Grant Shapps): We estimate that there are about 6,000 households in social housing where the person named on the tenancy agreement and their partner have a combined income over £100,000 a year—something we intend to tackle through the pay to stay scheme, whereby those on six-figure incomes who wish to stay in their properties can pay to stay there. Mr Burley: The 2,345 people currently on the housing waiting list in Cannock Chase will be gobsmacked to learn that an estimated 6,000 people still living in council houses are paying a subsidised rent despite earning more than £100,000 a year—four times the average salary of my constituents. With so many people in need of housing languishing on waiting lists, what assurances can the Minister give me and my constituents that those people who earn more than him will be forced to pay their way like the rest of us? Grant Shapps: My hon. Friend points out a real problem with the housing system—that it is possible to earn a six-figure salary, sit on the Labour Benches and still occupy a home built for some of the most vulnerable people in society, who deserve those homes. We will allow the pay to stay scheme to go ahead, meaning that people can stay in their homes and pay the market rent so that we can use all the money to build more affordable homes for people who really need them.

Aidan welcomes new online and telephone services
Aidan has welcomed an £11 million Government investment in new online and telephone services which will help to support parents and families in Cannock Chase. The Government is providing funding to eleven voluntary and community organisations, including Young Minds and Gingerbread, to deliver a range of support including relationship advice, advice on educational issues and services tailored specifically for fathers. Commenting Aidan said: "Every parent across the country can benefit from these services and I welcome the Government's decision to trust organisations with a proven track record in supporting families to deliver them. "Online and telephone support will give families in Cannock Chase the help they need, when they need it, without interfering in family life." The Voluntary and Community Organisations benefitting from the funding are: · · · · · · · · · · · Coram Children's Legal Centre provides advice on all aspects of family law and on some education issues such as exclusions. Contact A Family advises the parents of disabled children and those with special educational needs. Family Lives offers advice to parents on virtually any issue, both online and through its telephone helpline. Family Matters Institute operates the DadTalk online advice and support service specifically for dads. Family Rights Group provides advice to the parents of children on the edge of the social care system. Gingerbread provides information and advice to single parents on a wide range of issues, including benefits, both online and through a telephone helpline. Netmums is a well-known social networking site that employs specialists such as health visitors in its forums to offer general and one-to-one advice. One Plus One operates the Couple Connection and the Parent Connection webservices to help parents work through their relationship issues together. Relate offers one-to-one online counselling for parents with specialist therapeutic counsellors. Single Parents Action Network supports single parents online through specific issues for single parents, including getting back to work. Young Minds provides advice and counselling to the parents of children with mental health or behaviour problems.

Photo news: Cannock’s Brian James store reopens

Aidan at the reopening of the newly refurbished Brian James, Cannock with Brian James, Rakesh Chall and staff of the store. Aidan Burley MP was delighted to perform the formal grand opening of a Cannock furniture store that has been reopened seven months after apparently shutting down for good. The old Brian James store shut in March after 35 years in the town and the premises have been bought by Perry Barr-based NCF – who have reopened it with new beds, bedroom furniture, carpets and flooring departments created in a £1 million refit.

Aidan in Parliament:
Tuesday 8th November 2011

Late night court sittings

Click the above image to watch Aidan's question to the Secretary of State for Justice - which begins at 49 minutes and 52 seconds into the video. The full text of Aidan’s exchange with the Secretary of State was as follows: Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): After the riots in the summer, courts such as Cannock magistrates court in my constituency sat late and ensured that the surge in work was dealt with smoothly and efficiently. These late-night sittings have been widely regarded as a huge success, not least by those magistrates who have full-time jobs that require them to work during office hours. What plans does the Secretary of State’s Department have to roll out these evening court sittings on a permanent basis? Mr Kenneth Clarke: The work done after the riots is a tribute to the public spiritedness of all who sat on the bench—all the court staff, probation staff, police and duty defence solicitors. There was a widespread feeling that people should do their bit to restore order, and I am glad to say that the courts rose to the challenge. Normally, on an ordinary day, we do not have a shortage of court space, so there is no general need to have night or evening sittings. We can certainly improve the efficiency with which the more straightforward cases are dealt with. They can be brought on at an ordinary hour more quickly than they sometimes are now. We are working on that. It was a tribute to the court service and everybody who works in it that they all worked as well as they did.

Aidan in the media:

Tories Pursue Labour On Union Links
Sophie Ridge, Sky News Blog Wednesday 9th November 2011 The Conservatives are training their guns on Labour's relationship with the trade unions - and the MP Kate Green is in their sights. I have learned that the Tory backbencher Aidan Burley has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards asking him to investigate a potential breach of the Code of Conduct. Kate Green recently tabled an amendment to the Legal Aid Bill, relating to changes to the pension scheme. But Mr Burley believes she should have declared a financial interest relating to the GMB union - who could benefit from the amendment. Ms Green received a £5000 donation in kind from the GMB union during her election campaign. Mr Burley wrote: "I wish to bring to your attention, and ask you to investigate, a possible failure by a Member of Parliament to declare properly a relevant financial interest when tabling an amendment to a Bill." He added: "Kate Green MP failed to provide the required declaration of her interest regarding the GMB trade union. "This appears to be a breach of the code." The letter is part of a long-running battle over Labour's relationship with the trade unions. Earlier this week the Conservatives claimed Labour MPs have been "checking" with the GMB union before voting on amendments to the Legal Aid Bill regarding a public sector pension scheme. The union has provided almost £1 in every £5 of Labour's donations since Ed Miliband became Labour leader. Mr Burley told me: "I believe this whole issue has been swept under the carpet during the past 13 years, a period during which the Labour party was funded to the tune of £10 million per year by their union paymasters. "I am also today calling on Labour to come clean on all other votes they have sought trade union views on."

Aidan in the papers:
The Sun Friday 28th October 2011

Heroes & Villains of Westminster

HEROES: AIDAN BURLEY Tory backbencher Aidan Burley spoke for millions of taxpayers this week when he demanded to know why full-time trade union officials are being paid out of the public purse. An estimated £68 million a year is given to teachers, nurses and police officers who only carry out union business. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has vowed to end the practice. But just in case the Government was wavering, Mr Burley delivered a bravura performance in the Commons pointing out the absurdity of the arrangement - which Labour allowed to develop when they were in power. Mr Burley told the Commons: "In simple terms, the taxpayer is directly funding those organising strikes and chaos, and also indirectly funding the Labour Party, and I think that is wrong." Hear hear.

Aidan in the papers:

Just one in five backs strike: Low turnout, but union sticks to pension walkout
Jason Groves & Becky Barrow, Daily Mail Thursday 3rd November 2011 Britain's biggest public sector union last night vowed to press ahead with a wave of damaging strikes over pension reform – despite the support of barely one-fifth of its members. Unison claimed the ballot showed its 1.4million members – from school dinner ladies and bin men to social workers and NHS staff – were ‘deeply concerned’ about plans to reform their gold-plated pensions, despite a string of Government concessions made this week. Just 22 per cent of members balloted had voted for industrial action after a turnout of less than 30 per cent, critics pointed out. Downing Street last night said the strike was ‘potentially damaging’ to the economy and vital health services. A string of other unions are due to announce the results of their strike ballots in the coming weeks. General-secretary Dave Prentis described the call as ‘decisive’, and said Unison would prepare for a wave of strikes, from November 30, which, when co-ordinated by militants, could see up to four million public sector workers down tools. Ministers and Tory MPs last night condemned its decision to press ahead with action backed by a ‘derisory’ proportion of members. Unison balloted 1.4million members affected by pension reforms. Of these, just over 315,000 bothered to vote – just under 29 per cent. The strike was backed by 245,358 votes to 70,253. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said ministers had offered a ‘generous settlement which is beyond the dreams of most private employees’. He added: ‘Today’s ballot shows there is extremely limited support for the kind of strike action their union leaders want.’ Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, said the strike would ‘cause delays in treatment and distress to patients’. Tory MP Aidan Burley last night called for laws requiring unions to gain majority support before pressing ahead with strikes – an idea backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Public sector workers were offered concessions which experts warn will cost the taxpayer more than £50billion. Government sources insist the deal will still halve the £32billion-a-year cost to the taxpayer of funding public sector pensions. Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, called for the deal to be taken off the table if union leaders press ahead with strikes. He said: ‘It looks as though this bribe has failed. The unions have the Government over a barrel. Once you start offering concessions, when do you stop?’

Aidan in the papers:
Aidan Burley MP, Chase Post Thursday 10th November 2011

Week in Westminster

Over the last week I have received a number of emails from constituents expressing their anxiety about the ongoing situation at Stafford Hospital A & E Department. At the time of writing, Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Board is due to meet on 10th November to make a decision on whether to authorise a temporary overnight closure (10pm to 8am) of the Accident and Emergency Department in order to deal with staffing shortages. It is fair to say that the people of Cannock Chase deserve better healthcare than they have received over recent years. I am pleased to see that there have been big improvements at the Trust in the past year with one measure making it the best performing Trust in the West Midlands. Whilst I accept the staffing problems the Trust have encountered, people here in Cannock Chase have already seen the removal of services from Cannock Hospital in recent years. I believe that closing the Accident and Emergency Department at Stafford Hospital, even for a temporary period, is a step too far and have made clear in an open letter to the Trust that they should delay any decision and instead continue to work together with the Department of Health and other relevant bodies to find an alternative solution. The safety of local people in Cannock Chase is paramount in my role as your MP and it is my job to ensure that nothing is done to put your safety at risk. However, a closure would mean that some of you would have to make a 20 mile and 45 minute journey in order to find emergency healthcare. Ambulance services would be affected in the same way, more than doubling the time they take to get a person to hospital. A closure, I believe, would only serve to further damage the reputation at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust at a time when it should be doing all it can to rebuild trust with the local community. We owe it to the local community to find a resolution to this problem without closing such a vital service, one that is literally a matter of life or death for my constituents.

Aidan in the papers:
Aidan Burley MP, Chase Post Thursday 3rd November 2011

Week in Westminster

Social housing is one of the main issues that local people come to my Help Zone and surgeries to talk to me about. We all know that there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing in both Cannock Chase and the country as a whole. One of the reasons for this is because too few houses have been built under governments of all colours, over a number of decades. But there are a number of other reasons the social housing system is clogged up. This week I got the opportunity to question the Housing Minister directly about one of these problems. I find it scandalous that there are currently an estimated 6000 people in the UK living in council houses and paying subsidised rent, despite earning more than £100,000 a year. That's more than four times the average salary of local people here in Cannock Chase. This strikes me as deeply unfair especially at a time where in Cannock Chase alone last week there were over 2,300 people listed on the Housing register, with 164 of these marked in Band 1 or 1 Plus - which is defined as those people who are either homeless or in the most serious housing need. In response to my question the Housing Minister said he would take action to address this anomaly. In future he would ensure that people living in subsidised houses with a household income of more than £100,000 are either asked to leave or made to pay full market rate for their properties. More importantly, I was pleased that the Minster made clear in his response that every penny of the money raised by this "Pay to Stay" scheme will go toward building more affordable housing for the most vulnerable people in our society. Whist I accept that this alone will not solve our housing crisis, it is only right that our Government acts to deal with this small, but significant social injustice.

5 ways to contact Aidan Burley MP:
By Phone: 01543 502 447 By email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk By post: Aidan Burley MP 6 High Green Court, Newhall Street Cannock, WS11 1GR In person: Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Aidan Burley MP’s regular help and advice surgeries.

www.aidanburleymp.org
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Aidan Burley MP – Putting Cannock Chase First!
Published & Promoted by Aidan Burley MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

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